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Meet the Devs - Aaron Turner

In this week's developer interview, we talk to Aaron Turner. He's developed three decent applications with some interesting designs. Check him out!
September 23, 2014
aaron turner developer interview
Welcome back to our Meet the Devs segment! In this piece we take a little time to get to know the people who really make Android what it is today and that is the app developers. In this week’s developer interview, we are talking to Aaron Turner.

Name: Aaron Turner

Developer Name: Aaron Turner

Country: United States

Google + Profile/Page: Aaron Turner’s Google+

How many people on your team? 1

developer interview aaron turner

Tell us about your company

I am Aaron Turner, an independent developer from California. I am currently attending California State University, Long Beach. And I strive to make reliable, lightweight, and fast apps for Android.

developer interview Feather

What level of experience do you have with coding and development?

I’ve been coding since I was about 13. But I never really took it too seriously until I graduated high school. I always did lessons online, and wrote small programs here and there, but nothing that took more than an hour to do. But, I am currently a second-year, though I have enough units to be a third, and after I started taking Java courses, I became highly engaged in Android development, and now I probably spend at least 20 hours a week coding for Android.

What languages do you know? How and where did you learn them?

I know Java, C++, and a little bit of Javascript. I learned java from my courses in college, and it would be wrong for me to not give credit to stack overflow as I am always learning stuff from there. I learned C++ from some Reddit guides online, and a course I took in college. Though I must admit I’ve not created a full project in C, as I’m usually programming for Java. And I learned my small amount of JavaScript from Code Academy.

What level of experience do you have with design?

I actually have little experience with design, besides the little doodles I would draw in class. I never really had to design anything until I started developing for Android. But, I have always been fascinated with pixel art, so that its why all of my app icons are 8-bit themed. And I am currently working on a retro-style game with a lot of pixel art in it. So hopefully, by the time it is finished I’ll be able to consider myself an amateur designer.

developer interviews aaron turner

What apps have you made?

I’ve created three apps.

Stats Monitor widget is a text based system monitor widget that displays: time, date, uptime, battery percentage, battery temperature, CPU percentage (with multi core CPU support), used internal storage, used external storage, used RAM, network name, upload speed, download speed. Where all of this is customizable, you can choose which features you want or don’t want, text color, background color, and widget orientation.

Feather – Music / Video Free is a very fast and lightweight media player that uses native android media support to easily find, manage, and play music and video through a minimal and file based UI. It is transparent themed, and uses your own system wallpaper as its background. And it is very fast and stable due to it’s very small apk size, small footprint, and ability to run without any extra codecs or downloads.

Txtnote is a very simple and lightweight note taking application for android, that stores all of your notes on the external SD card as .txt files for ubiquitous and easy access.

How do you monetize your apps?

I monetize my apps by reaching out to my users on my reviews. I try to make them happy so the app becomes better and they are more likely to tell their buddies about it. I often, post my apps on forums, so it can easily get people who are engaged in android to see and provide feedback for my apps. And I reach out to great blogs like this one to hopefully get a recommendation or review from them. I also tried using an ad campaign, but it was very unsuccessful, and ended up being a waste of money for me.

Do you consider yourself successful?

Yes. Growing up as a underprivileged African American kid from California, I fell in love with computers and video games at the age of 6. And since then, I had always dreamed of working with computers or making my own video games. And the fact that I can finally reach my dream of creating something for technology, even though I am not making millions of dollars off of my apps, this will always be a success to me. No matter how bad it does with sales.

How difficult is it to make money as a developer?

Extremely. I thought that since not many people know programming and didn’t have the patience for it, the app market was a very successful thing for anyone to get into. But, that is not the case at all. I don’t know if it is portrayed that way, because that is what I got out of it, but being a developer is hard work. I definitely could not live off of my earnings, so I’m very grateful I can fall back on my college aid to live off of.

What can Android do to improve?

I honestly think Google is taking android in a wonderful direction, and the improvements that it needs are being implemented. However, one of the things I do think needs more support is older devices. As coding for older versions really restricts you as a developer. As I have a lot of buddies who have older devices, and I don’t want to leave them in the dust whenever I create something new. So I’ve been struggling to make current-gen apps on an old-gen platform. And, I wish android would push for older devices to get support for newer versions. I thought this would happen for Kit-Kat since they were saying it’s much more lightweight, and would work well on older devices, but yet It never got pushed to them. Though this may be a problem with the manufacturer and not android itself.

Also, can we get a faster emulator in the dev tools? Please Google?

developer interview aaron turner

Why did you choose Android? Do you develop for other platforms? What are the differences between them?

I chose Android as I see a lot of people with android in my community since it is more const friendly if you need it to be, but also elegant and powerful if you have the money. And it is much more open and powerful than iPhones, and other I-devices. And I chose mobile in general, since mobile goes with you everywhere, A game or app on a computer stays at home, but an app for your mobile device is with you 24-7. As for other platforms, I am currently developing for the Samsung Gear for their app challenge. And it’s quite different since they use HTML and Javascript, so creating a layout is quite different. However, their tools are much easier to use and more convenient than Android.

What are your thoughts on iOS and Windows 8?

I like iOS in the fact that it stays smooth, and keeps things looking beautiful. But I do feel they are a lot of restrictions on the user, and you can’t do anything too unique with it. And I feel like windows 8 is definitely going in the right direction, I love the Metro-UI look, however, they definitely need some more app support to gain a much better market for developers to enter.

What do you think of the Android design guidelines?

I think the Android design guidelines are going in a great direction. Things are becoming more animated, and minimal. And people are becoming open to transparency and I love it. It is all looking very beautiful.

What are your favorite apps?

My favorite apps are:

  • Airdroid – It helps so much with device management, and it works right from your browser!
  • True Skate – I am a skateboarder, and I play this game every day, it’s loads of fun
  • Zeam – A very lightweight launcher, keeps my phone fast and simple.
  • Wallpaper Wizardrii – This app is amazing, It allows you to crop wallpapers the way you want to, not the way your forced to
  • Greenify – Dynamically sleeps your apps, so you can save tons of battery
  • Super Bit Dash – I played this game for about a month straight, very awesome and retro
  • Firefox – They’re mobile browser is the best one I’ve used so far, it’s very fast.

What has been your experience been like working with Google?

Working with Google is great. They pay on time, and its easy to get things done. They have a lot of resources and guides for developers, and they genuinely try to help you make the best and most successful app you can. However, I’ve had a bit of trouble with their ad network (AdMob) so I switched from them. But other than that it has been good.

aaron turner developer interview

What does the future of development look like?

Things are gonna get a lot more minimal, and I feel like material design is really going to catch on. Also, things are all going web based, so I’d say get ready for that!

What tips do you have for aspiring developers?

If you always wanted to be a developer, stop wishing and start doing. Once you finish your first app, it is going to be the greatest feeling you’ve felt. And don’t give up, determination will allow you to achieve great things.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I hope to see more developers that are minorities, it’s fun guys I promise! And, thanks for letting me be a part of this interview!

We want to thank Aaron for chatting with us in this week’s developer interview! If you’re a developer and this looks like something you’d like to do, check out our Meet the Devs form! We look forward to hearing from you.